Whether you’re new to obstacle racing or you’re a seasoned veteran, running a Spartan race takes guts, period. Making your way from the rope climb to the inverted wall, navigating under barbed wire, and leaping over fire tests you in ways unlike anything else in life. Often, your mind is racing just as fast as you are. So we reached out to racers to ask: What are your thoughts during a Spartan race?
Thought #1: I can’t believe I’m one of those people who runs up mountains for fun.
“Old me could never do this. Old me would be too self-conscious for this. I love this.”—Stephanie Ratty, 27
Thought #2: We will succeed together.
“Throughout a race you’ll see several people who will need help, just like I do from time to time. No matter where I’m at in my personal race, I always take the time to give them all of the help that I can provide. For me, strength obstacles are where I excel the most. Come the Hercules Hoist, I’m always helping others.”—Justin Levy, 34
Thought #3: I need calories!
“Especially during a Beast—I wouldn’t mind free burgers at the end instead of beer.”—Tim Werner, 37
Thought #4: These rocks were put here by Lucifer himself.
“I grow as a racer and individual every time I do a Spartan race. But still, those rocky inclines are hard every single time.”—Perri Goldstein, 30
Thought #5: You’ve got this. You’ve got this. You’ve got this.
“Just saying simple words to myself like ‘You’ve got this’ helps get me through. I’d like to say I’ve always been mentally tough, and I’ve always had the mentality to go out there and win. In this case, I’m definitely not the best. I still have a ways to go to compete with the top women, but no matter what, I race to win against myself.”—Chelsea Aronica, 26
Thought #6: As long as I’m breathing, I’m winning.
“Just because your heart is pumping like the pistons of a Ferrari’s engine doesn’t mean your breathing has to get faster or more shallow. I learned this as a basic skill in martial arts, and it’s stuck with me through Spartan racing. If I lose my breathe, that can quickly lead to fatigue, mental stress, and defeat.”—Ryan McEachern, 31
Thought #7: I’m surrounded by heroes.
“Spartan has lead me to a community of people who inspire me daily with their stories and examples, their faces give me strength when the hill feels too steep or the wall too high.”—Cathryn Hardy, 37
Thought #8: How should I set my governor today?
“I strategically think about my energy exertion, especially on the longer races … when to push a little harder and when to cruise. Cramping or injuring myself can really take you out of the race so I try and avoid total fatigue as much as possible.”—Kyle Baughman, 36
Thought #9: Go for the guy’s weight.
“I’d trained hard for six weeks to get stronger before my first Spartan, and I felt like I was selling myself short if I knew I was capable of doing the heavier weight or a higher box jump. It was definitely not possible for all the obstacles, but I usually just made a game-time decision. When I was doing the box jumps on the guys’ size and I was the only girl, it just felt awesome knowing I was capable.”—Leslie Green, 24
Thought #10: Every finish is a victory.
“I’m not competing as an elite racer. I’m competing to finish each race that I enter, no matter how long it takes me.”—Justin Levy, 34
Thought #11: This is amazing!
“There is a sense of community and camaraderie among participants. It’s a positive and encouraging atmosphere, not scary at all.”—Molly Ritterbeck, 29
Ready to give Spartan a try? Here’s everything you need to know to find your race.